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Southern Oregon University


Outside Magazine highlighted the Environmental Studies Program and Southern Oregon University as number twenty in their "top forty universities to learn, live, work, and play."

Geographic Setting

Our field-oriented curriculum takes advantage of the unique environmental setting of our region and provides opportunities to work with local agencies.Southern Oregon, with its Klamath and Cascade Mountains and interior valleys, is an ideal location for studying and experiencing a variety of environmental issues, including water resources, endangered species, timber, natural hazards, and urban growth issues. In addition, the city of Ashland provides a small-town atmosphere complete with various recreational opportunities, including mountain biking, whitewater rafting, skiing, hiking, climbing and kayaking.

Environmental Studies Practicum & Internship Opportunities

The ES program encourages and gives academic credit for work experiences with local environmental agencies and organizations. Opportunities include working with the USDA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service (Crater Lake), local watershed councils, Jackson County, local city and county planning departments, state and federal agencies, and local environmental organizations. Practicum, internship and work-study experiences with the Environmental Studies program lead to contacts and job offers upon graduation.

The following quote from a local land management agency representative illustrates the philosophy of the Environmental Studies degree:

"We use a team approach in natural resource management. Our scientists rarely work independently from other science or social science disciplines. We look for employees who are comfortable with the concepts from a variety of disciplines and can work together on complex resource-related projects." (Bureau of Land Management)

To begin the process of setting up Practicum or Internship, students should:

  1. Register for ES 409 Practicum credits or ES 498 Internship credits as directed by your advisor.
  2. After registering, you must complete and submit to the following forms to the Internship Coordinator:
    • Student Internship Application (must be signed by student, employer, and certificate coordinator if applicable)
    • Student Agreement (must be signed by student)
    • Host Site Agreement(must be signed by employer)
      Students may not start counting practicum or internship hours until the three forms above are submitted and approved by the ES Chair.

Here is a list of previous practicum and internship experiences of ES students.

Project Type Cooperating Agency/Organization


Air quality

Jackson County Health Department
Jackson County and local cities
Jackson County and local cities
Jackson County GIS Services


Climate modeling
Land use planning
Mapping (GIS)


Coho inventory, recovery

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Rogue Valley Council of Governments
City of Medford
City of Ashland, WISE Project
Bureau of Land Management, Rogue River National Forest
Ashland Parks and Recreation

Poplar trees, water reclamation
Wetlands investigation
Noxious weed removal
North Mountain Park stewardship


Environmental education

Bear Creek Watershed Council Education Partners
Oregon Stewardship
Ashland Parks and Recreation

Environmental education
North Mountain Park


Ground water data analysis

Jackson County, WISE Project
Jackson County and Oregon Geology and Mineral Industries
SOU, Jackson County
SOU, local schools, local cities
Ashland Parks and Recreation

Geology field mapping
Sediment analysis
Earthquake public awareness
Geology of North Mountain Park

Water Resources

Rural and urban surface water quality

Jackson County and local cities
Rogue Valley Council of Governments
Bear Creek and Evan's Creek Watershed Council
Upper Rogue Watershed Council

Water quality data analysis
Watershed protection
Watershed analysis field work


Urban growth, agriculture

Rogue Valley Council of Governments
SOU, Jackson County

Urban growth issues support
GIS projects